Friday, December 28, 2012

The Friday Five

I'm back to the Friday Five today. Where has the week gone!?

1. What I'm Reading:
I read this in two days by the pool.
From Amazon: Meredith Martin Delinn just lost everything: her friends, her homes, her social standing - because her husband Freddy cheated rich investors out of billions of dollars.
Desperate and facing homelessness, Meredith receives a call from her old best friend, Constance Flute. Connie's had recent worries of her own, and the two depart for a summer on Nantucket in an attempt to heal. But the island can't offer complete escape, and they're plagued by new and old troubles alike. When Connie's brother Toby - Meredith's high school boyfriend - arrives, Meredith must reconcile the differences between the life she is leading and the life she could have had. 
Set against the backdrop of a Nantucket summer, Elin Hilderbrand delivers a suspenseful story of the power of friendship, the pull of love, and the beauty of forgiveness.

2. What I'm Eating:
This hot kale dip. Recipe to come. 
3. What I'm Listening to:
I've been switching back and forth between Kip Moore's Beer Money and Cruise by Florida Georgia Line.
4. What Recipe I'm Bookmarking:
It's hard to think about food after all we have consumed this week but these Stuffed Sweet Potatoes look light and filling. 
5. What Pins I'm Loving:
Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Day in the Life

There is nothing quite like being on island time. Our days have started with coffee and breakfast overlooking the water, followed by a walk on the old Seven Mile Bridge.
The afternoon activities have consisted of sitting by the pool, fishing, and paddle boarding. 
The evenings have been filled with sunset cocktail cruises, delicious dinners, and parlor games. 
I think I could stay down here forever.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
- Isaiah 9:6

Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Travels

After work on Friday, I headed straight to the airport for the first leg of my holiday travels. My flight was originally supposed to leave at 8pm but they pushed it to 8:20. We boarded on time but ended up sitting at the gate for over 45 minutes. Once we finally left, it was pretty much smooth sailing. Rudolph and I landed safely in Charleston around 10:30.
Rudolph is for my sister's dog.
I got a lot of funny looks walking through the airport.
Since my flight was getting in so late, my sister left me her car at the airport. Valeting at the Charleston Airport is the way to go. They already had the car pulled around when I called, they loaded my bags for me, and gave me a bottle of water for my trip. Talk about service. And it wasn't expensive.

After another hour and a half on the road, I pulled into the driveway. Thank goodness for diet coke and the radio for keeping me awake but I was way too wired to sleep once I got home. 
Our sleigh

Approximately 4 hours of sleep later, it was time to get back in the car to head to Florida. We drove a family friend's truck and boat down.

Mom made the comment that she couldn't believe it wasn't decorated with lights for Christmas. When we opened the doors, we found mistletoe hanging from the rearview mirror and a goody basket on the center console. 

I slept for most of the morning in the backseat while dad drove. Mary Loyal and Lash were in the car behind us. We played musical seats in the afternoon.

This trip was one of the easiest ones we've had. We stopped every couple of hours for gas and thankfully did not run into any problems.  

While the 5:30am wakeup call was early, it was worth it when we pulled in just in time to see the sunset. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fun Facts Friday

1) I have been a day ahead of myself this entire week. It didn't help that we had an event on Monday night which threw off the rest of my week. Tuesday felt like Wednesday and Thursday felt like Friday. But now, it is finally Friday!

2) Our event on Monday was a Christmas Party/Art Auction. I bought myself a painting that I am super excited about. I hung it up right when I got home. It is one of my first big girl purchases. I know that sounds kind of silly but it was fun to treat myself to something I will most likely keep forever.

3) I have spent more time in the car this week than I have in a long time. Between driving back and forth to Arlington and Alexandria for various reasons and running errands in the district, I have covered some serious ground.

4) I also discovered that I can't get anywhere in this city without missing at least one turn. No trip is complete without my GPS telling me it is recalculating or to make a legal U-turn.

5) My girls Bible study is shrinking. We said goodbye to both Abianne and Elise as they head back to Texas. Thankfully Abianne will be returning at the end of her "study abroad."

6) In less than 12 hours, I will be home! Lord willing that is. I have an evening flight out of DCA then an hour and a half drive to Beaufort by myself. I thought I found someone to carpool with but that fell through. So if anyone wants to keep me company between the hours of 10pm-midnight tonight, call away. I will be available.

7) Instead of packing last night, I poured myself a large glass of wine and curled up on the couch to watch White Christmas. I just love that movie so much. It wouldn't be Christmas without me watching it at least once.

8) When I finally did get around to packing, I fit nine days worth of clothes in a carry-on bag. Let's hope I didn't forget anything major. Fortunately, bathing suits take up way less room than sweaters.

9) I can't wait to spend a whole week with my family in the Keys. It has been quite some time since we have all been together. I feel like I haven't seen my sister's husband in forever.

10) I hope everyone travels safely this weekend.

11) Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thoughts on Thursday

Be merry.
Remember the reason for the season. 
Count your blessings.
Pay it forward.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

25 Days of Christmas - Part 2

You can read my answers to the first 12 questions here.
13. Favorite Christmas book -  The Christmas story in the Bible. I also enjoy Twas the Night before Christmas and The Polar Express.

14. Real or artificial tree - Is this a trick question? Real. 

15. Best gift you've given - The jury is out on this one. One time, we gave my dad a cd with the edited version and instrumental version of "In Da Club" by 50 Cent. You would have to know my dad to understand why this was such a hit but he loved it.

16. Hardest person to buy for - My dad. He never wants anything but you have to have something to open on Christmas day.

17. Post a picture of an old Christmas card
I wish I knew what year this was from.
18. When do you open gifts? We always open presents on Christmas morning. We go through our stockings on my parents' bed, eat a big breakfast of sausage casserole and fruit, and then open gifts in the living room.

19. Favorite stocking stuffer - Our stockings are always filled with toiletries, some chocolate, and makeup. I think I have a lifetime supply of shaving cream!

20. Favorite Christmas meal - Barefoot Contessa Seafood Stew that mom always makes. The recipe is labor intensive but so worth it.

21. Do you travel for the holidays? It depends on the year. We are usually home unless we have a big trip planned. We went on a cruise once and every four years we celebrate Christmas with my dad's family at our farm. If we are home, sometimes we will jump in the car on Christmas day and head to my aunt's house in Orangeburg.

22. Eggnog or hot chocolate - Hot chocolate with marshmellows. I am not a fan of eggnog.

23. Your plans for Christmas 2012 - The Florida Keys. I cannot wait! We are driving down on Saturday and will be down there for a week. I am so ready to spend time with my family and be on vacation. The weather is going to be in the 70s and sunny. Kenny Chesney summed it up best when he sang "All I want for Christmas is a real good tan."

24. Favorite Christmas Eve tradition - I already answered this one, but the 11pm service at church. Thank goodness for live streaming so we can listen in this year!

Can you believe Christmas is less than a week away?!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What I Baked on Sunday

Easy Appetizer Edition 

Hot Sausage Balls
I made these for the hospitality table at church. The recipe is pretty straight forward: hot sausage, cheese, and Bisquick. I made my own baking mix instead of buying a box of Bisquick. Note to self: when a recipe calls for a brand name, use it. Mine didn't exactly turn out like they were supposed to but they were still good.

Cheese Biscuits
I made these for some friends for Christmas.

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups of extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups Rice Krispies

Cream butter and cheese. Sift flour and seasoning. Blend into butter mixture, mixing well. Add Rice Krispies by hand. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until light brown.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Weekend Recap

Friday night was a much needed night in. Between crazy days at work and plans every night last week, I was pretty worn out. I spent the evening cooking some delicious squash (recipes to come) and catching up on some TV shows. I also received a fun little surprise when the mailman knocked on the door and brought me this:
Christina from Hungry Meets Healthy hosted a Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownie Giveaway a few weeks ago and I won. I can't wait to try them.

Saturday, I spent the day playing Santa and baking. I made one last run for gifts and was able to cross everyone off my list. I had way too much fun listening to Christmas music, wrapping presents, and making fun things in the kitchen.
I also went to three Christmas parties - somehow I made it through the night without taking a single picture. Oops. 

Sunday, I was in charge of the hospitality table at church. Normally, we serve pastries, cookies, and nuts but yesterday we turned it up a notch by serving waffles. They were a huge hit! I could not have done it without my team. 
After church, I headed out to Alexandria to get ready for the Christmas Party/Art Auction we are having tonight. I think the donor was impressed when I pulled up to the storage unit in my Explorer. He asked if I hunted and fished. I said, yes along with nannying and riding horses. I don't think I could ever have a compact car. 
I finished out the weekend watching the prayer vigil from Newtown. It felt weird having a normal weekend, while people in Connecticut and elsewhere were grieving. I cannot even imagine what they are going through. I just pray for their strength and healing during this time. 

Friday, December 14, 2012


And pray for everyone affected by the shooting in Connecticut. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Oh Kale

I'm pretty sure you all are well aware of my obsession with kale. If not, you can refresh your memory here and here. I was in the middle of drafting this post when my cousin sent me this link. Her college roommate just launched a new bag/notecard line based around kale. I love it haha!
Now, back to the reason for this post. I wanted to share two more kale recipes:

Eat Live Run's Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad
I made this salad over the weekend and have been eating it everyday for lunch. Add some chicken or turkey and you have a complete meal.

Iowa Girl Eats' Must-Try Kale Fried Rice
I can't wait to try this recipe. It's been on my mind ever since Kristin posted it last week. I haven't been home for dinner one night this week, so I am hoping to make it this weekend. 

Eat Kale and Carry On, my friends. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

25 Days of Christmas - Part 1

I came across the 25 Days of Blogging Christmas Challenge on Chelsey's blog the other day and figured I would join in. I decided to break the questions into two different posts, so here is part one:
1. Favorite Christmas movie - White Christmas. This might even be one of my all time favorite movies in general. I found out last night that the musical is at the Kennedy Center right now. I really want to go see it before it leaves.

2. My wish list - not much, if anything. I certainly don't need anything and I don't have that many wants either.

3. When/how I learned Santa wasn't real - I think I was in middle school; way too old to still believe. One of my cousins told me over the summer while we were all together at the beach. It was devastating.

4. Favorite Christmas song - There are too many to choose from. Some of my favorite hymns are Silent Night, O Holy Night, and Joy to the World. I also love Last Christmas, Baby It's Cold Outside, and Cold December Night.  Thank you Michael Buble for that last one. 

5. Best gift you've ever received - How to pick? I did get a pony once. You can't really top that. 

6. Favorite tree ornament - Once again, there are too many favorites to choose between. The one that came to mind first was a pretty in cursive "L" with a green ribbon. 

7. Most memorable Christmas - Probably last Christmas. It was kind of a disaster: my flight home was delayed, my mom ended up in the ER, my sister spent her first Christmas away from us with her husband's family. It was still a great Christmas, just unlike any other.

8. Christmas decor - See my post from a few days ago. 

9. Easiest to buy for - My mom. She always has a few things in mind and is fun to shop for. 

10. Favorite holiday scent - Christmas tree. Does that count? Who knew that they now have candles that smell just like a tree. I came across one when I was shopping over Thanksgiving break. 

11. Favorite Christmas tradition - We always go to the 11pm service on Christmas Eve. While it makes for a late night, it is one of my favorite services. On Christmas Day, we always go through our stockings on my parents' bed. 

12. Wrapping paper or gift bags - Wrapping paper all the way. I am the designated gift wrapper of the family. I just love it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Weekend Recap in Pictures

Friday: Handel's Messiah at the National Cathedral
Saturday: Christmas shopping on M Street, a drink with Marjorie and Herb at the Ritz and a s'more for Hope, a tacky Christmas party
The only picture I have from the night.
I had to make sure my fashion consultant approved.
Sunday: Brunch at Paolo's, a Christmas tree for the house, and Christmas cards - I finally opened all my mail
We don't have any lights/ornaments yet.
Baby steps.
I love snail mail.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fun Facts Friday

1) How is it already Friday? This week has flown by. But, no complaints here.

2) It warmed up earlier this week, then the temperature dropped 20 degrees yesterday. Today it is overcast and chilly, I am currently wearing my big puffy coat while sitting at my desk trying to stay warm. It is so cold in my office.

3) I had something every night this week and the evening plans continue throughout the weekend. I should probably just accept this crazy busy schedule as the new normal.
4) There are 14 days between now and the start of my Christmas vacation. Of those days, I only have 4 free evenings. Tis the season for holiday parties.

5) Last night, I had dinner with some members of my other family from Beaufort - I babysat for them for six years. I have known Hope since she was this age:
I can't believe she is about to be a high schooler!
6) I wish I had more to share but blogging has fallen off my radar this week. I am hoping to be back in the groove next week.

7) Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a great weekend!